Thursday, August 6, 2009

Speaking of Speaking

Who could dispute that Ricky Henderson shaped his public perception in a favorable form with his uncharacteristic address at the Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony a few days ago?

For professional athletes, especially the majority who do not join the media upon retirement from their game, the induction ceremony is the last blast of enduring press they will receive. A botched speech will yield an indelible stain on their public record. On the other hand, a graceful and moving address, one that shows the more flattering aspects of their character, garners good press that becomes a permanent digital record on the internet and will (disproportionately) influence their legacy for all time.

Certainly among the brashest athletes we have seen in recent decades, his flamboyance and attention seeking antics made Ricky a sometimes unlikable target. Showing up for induction to the HOF in a white suit seemed squarely in line with everyone's expectation of a self-promoting rant from the podium. What a great surprise to see his humility and his healthy perspective on all the help he received along the way.

I admit it; my perception changed. Good for Ricky for doing it right and serving Ricky well.

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